Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ExxonMobil Made $41.1 Billion In 2011, But Pays Estimated 17.6 Percent Tax Rate

ExxonMobil had the largest profits of the Big Five oil companies in 2011, raking in $41.1 billion for the year. This 35 percent jump from last year is driven in large part by record-high oil prices. Today, the oil giant announced its fourth quarter profits of $9.4 billion, a 2 percent increase since 2010. Here are a few other facts about ExxonMobil:

Saudi Oil Minister Calls Global Warming “Humanity’s Most Pressing Concern”

Americans use the term “Saudi Arabia of” to describe an abundance of something — usually energy. We are the “Saudi Arabia of wind,” the “Saudi Arabia of coal,” the “Saudi Arabia of efficiency,” and so on and on and on.

AMS Certified Meteorologist Mark Johnson Claims ‘Earth Hasn’t Warmed In 15 Years’

Cleveland television meteorologist Mark Johnson, one of the anti-science weathermen exposed by the Forecast the Facts campaign, is now claiming that the “earth hasn’t warmed in 15 years.” Johnson, the chief meteorologist for ABC affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH, is an American Meteorological Society Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.

Nation’s Largest Cancer Charity Caves To Right Wing Pressure, Ends Relationship With Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the country’s best-known and best-funded breast cancer organization. Known for it’s iconic pink ribbon and annual Race for the Cure event, the organization has invested nearly $2 billion in cancer education and research since its founding in 1982.

Republicans Start To Unite Around Call To Allow Billionaires And Corporations To Directly Fund Campaigns

Eight in 10 Americans believe that there istoo much money in American politics, andonly 17 percent agree with the Supreme Court that corporations should be allowed to spend unlimited money to try to influence elections.

How Government Budget Cuts Significantly Reduced U.S. GDP Last Year

The Commerce Department reported last week that the economy grew at a 2.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2011, higher than GDP growth has been recently, but still not enough to significantly bring down unemployment. And as the New York Times’ David Leonhardt explained, one of the major drags on growthhas been the budget-cutting that has been going on at all levels of government for the past year and a half:

President Obama Calls Out Mike Lee’s Scorched Earth Obstructionism

Last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) announced he would take revenge for President Obama’s decision to make four recess appointments by engaging in a scorched earth campaign of obstruction against the president’s nominees. In his weekly address this weekend, Obama punched back:

WSJ Publishes Op-Ed From 16 Climate Deniers, Refused Letter From 255 Top Scientists

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, sixteen prominent global warming deniers with scientific backgrounds — such as tobacco apologist Richard Lindzen of MIT and ExxonMobil executive Roger Cohen — concede that manmade carbon dioxide emissions have a warming effect on the planet, but argue that the effect is “small” and nothing to “panic” about. All the other scientists in the world who believe the science are part of a conspiracy to intimidate people like themselves, they write, just as Soviet biologists who believed in genes were “sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.”

Three Years After Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Passed, Women Still Earn Far Less Than Men

Sunday marked the third anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first legislation signed into law by President Obama. The law, which expanded the statute of limitations on fair pay lawsuits, was a response to a Supreme Court ruling against Ledbetter in her fair pay case.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

GOP Bill Tries To Drive Wedge Between Undocumented Servicemembers And Undocumented College Students

During Monday night’s debate, the two Republican presidential front runners voiced their support for a modified DREAM Act that covers only those undocumented immigrants who are willing to serve in the United States military, and not those who attend a college or university in pursuit of a degree.

Now, a Florida Republican has introduced a bill to do just that:

Real Time Panel Embarrasses Dana Rohrabacher After He Claims Obama Wants ‘To Gut The Military’

On HBO’s Real Time Friday night, host Bill Maher said the Republicans “were such sour pusses” during President Obama’s State of the Union speech last week. “Just in your own self interest, wouldn’t it be good to fake it when he’s talking about American succeses?” Maher wondered. Panelest Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) told Maher why the Republicans were in such a foul mood:

At World Economic Forum, Fear of Global Contagion Dominates

DAVOS, Switzerland -- They came, they feasted on smoked sturgeon and black truffle risotto, drank liquor paid for by global banks, endured dozens of security checks, and tried not to fall down in the snow. They talked about the perilous state of the global economy and the future of capitalism. Then, they headed back to their home countries -- many in chauffeured limousines, some by private jet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

GOP Presidential Candidates Tell Florida Uninsured Woman: You’re On Your Own

At last night’s CNN presidential debate in Jacksonville, Florida, the GOP candidates told an unemployed woman in need of health insurance that they would repeal the health reform law that could help her find coverage and giver her a tax deduction to go out and find her own insurance.

Virginia Opts To Keep Shorter School Year So Kids Have More Time To Ride Roller Coasters

Yesterday, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee put the interests of the tourism industryahead of the needs of students by voting to kill three billsthat would allow school boards to set their own calendar. The bills would have overturned the so called Kings Dominion Law, named for the amusement park in Doswell, Virginia. The law currently prohibits schools from starting before Labor Day, in an effort to boost late season tourism revenue:

North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers

The last legal public hanging in America took place in 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The “event” attracted 20,000 people and turned into such a sickening spectacle that many credit it with ending the practice in the U.S.

Menstruation and Women's Voices: Can Men Hear When You Have Your Period?

You know those adorable cases they sell for carrying your tampons to the bathroom so you don't have to reveal to every man in the office or restaurant or DMV that you're on your period? They may not be that useful, according to new research. A recent study indicates that for at least some men, it's not the Tampax box sticking out of your purse that gives away your menstrual status -- it's your voice.

George Lucas: Hollywood Didn't Want To Fund 'Red Tails' Because Of Its Black Cast

In an appearance on The Daily Show last night, George Lucas said that he had trouble getting funding for his new movie, "Red Tails," because of its black cast.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bank Of America’s Offer To Homeowners: We’ll Modify Loans If You’ll Erase All The Mean Things Said About Us On Twitter

In late 2010, Arizona launched an investigation into Bank of America, alleging that the bank misled homeownerswho were seeking mortgage modifications. Arizona’s attorney general claims that Bank of America “repeatedly has deceived” borrowers looking to lower their monthly payments.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Respect! Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Obama Face Off Over Book, Immigration Issues (Updated)

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer traded words with President Obama after she greeted him at a Phoenix airport Wednesday.

State of the Union 2012, In It's Entirety For January 24, 2012 (Text and Video)

January 25, 2012 -- THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

In State Of The Union, Obama Calls For Minimum 30 Percent Tax On Millionaires

During tonight’s State of the Union, President Obama — noting that one quarter of millionaires are able to pay less in taxes than millions of middle class families — called for a minimum 30 percent income tax rate for millionaires. Obama also took on the favorite Republican talking point that calling for millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes is “class warfare”:

Radical Immigration Policy Likely Cost Top Football Recruit A Scholarship To University Of Georgia

Georgia’s radical anti-immigration law has already cost the state’s farmers millions of dollars in lost crops, and studies show it will continue to threaten the state’s economy in years to come. Now, another anti-immigrant policy might cost the University of Georgia football team one of its top incoming players.

Billionaire Bill Gates Calls For Increasing Taxes On The Rich: ‘That’s Just Justice’

Last night in his State of the Union address, President Obama once again urged Congress to pass the Buffett rule, noting that 25 percent of American millionairespay less in taxes that millions of families in the middle-class. Republicans were quick to dismiss his request as “the politics of envy and division.” However, multi-billionaire Bill Gates called his policy something else entirely: “That’s just justice.”


Today, Reporters Without Borders released their annual Press Freedom Index, a leading assessment of how well countries are living up to principles of transparency and media freedom. It had nothing but bad news for the U.S., whichdropped precipitously in the rankings to 47th place. The report bluntly explained that the U.S. “owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.” Indeed, the U.S. fell almost as much as Bahrain, which was penalized for its brutal crackdown on reporters covering popular movements for government reform. The U.S. now ranks behind countries not typically known for media freedom, including Niger, Namibia, South Africa and Romania.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Raises Millions Thanks To A Loophole Allowing Unlimited Donations

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is raking in millions of dollars to fund his campaign against a recall effort to remove him from office. Out-of-state donors have poured money into his campaign coffers, making up more than 60 percent of the $4.5 million Walker raised in five weeks. And that includes the $1 million he received from four out-of-state donors alone, who donated $250,000 each — all thanks to a loophole in state law:

Controversial Kentucky Redistricting Effort Fuels Tensions, Prompts Assault Inside Capital Building

On Tuesday, the Kentucky state senate voted to approve shifting progressive Democrat State Senator Kathy Stein’s district to the northeast of the Lexington constituency that elected her in 2008. Because of Kentucky’s residency requirements, Stein won’t even be able to run for reelection in her new district, forcing her out of the senate when her term expires at the end of the year until at least 2014. Lexington’s new senator is Dorsey Ridley, who lives 200 miles outside of the district he now represents.

The War On A Woman’s Right To Choose, 2012 Edition

2011 was a banner year for anti-choice activists who succeeded in pushing througha record number of abortion restrictions. But it’s a new year, and it appears the GOP is dead set on outdoing itself. Republicans in Congress and across the country are introducing a variety pack of extreme anti-abortion bills — including personhood initiatives, heartbeat bills, and fetal pain bills — that saw some success last year. Here is a run-down of the abortion restrictions American women across the country are already facing in the first month of 2012:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday Morning Talk Shows Featured Twice As Many Republicans As Dems Last Year

The Sunday morning political talk shows have long played a key role in American political discourse, providing a venue for balanced discussion about key political topics. But in 2011 at least, they were heavily skewed to one political party over the other. According to a new analysis of shows likeMeet the Press from Roll Call, Republican lawmakers appeared nearly twice as often as Democratic ones last year, and held a smaller advantage in previous years:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tuskegee Airmen Honored At 'Red Tails' Screening In Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- This week's most noteworthy film screening didn't take place in Hollywood or Beverly Hills. Instead of starlets gliding past photographers on a red carpet, elderly men in wheelchairs, using canes or leaning on family for support were escorted by cadets up the steps of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza theater.

Gingrich Agrees To Meet With Rev. Sharpton After Being Confronted By Black Man In SC

As voters head to the polls today in South Carolina, an African-American man confronted Newt Gingrich outside a campaign stop on race issues, pressing the GOP candidate on his idea to make poor kids work as janitors in their own schools.

How The Republicans On The FEC Are Making Citizens United Even Worse

Three Republican appointees to the Federal Election Commission may be as responsible as anyone for the lack of transparency of post-Citizens United political spending.

Forecast The Facts Exposes America’s Climate-Denier TV Weathermen

America’s television meteorologists are theprimary source of climate information for most Americans, and are second only to scientists — who have much less access to the general public — in the level of trust they are given. Yet more than half of TV weather reporters don’t believe in human-induced climate change, even as our poisoned weather grows more extreme.

Jesse Jackson A Deadbeat Dad?

Karin Stanford (pictured), the Mother of Jesse Jackson‘s 12-year-old love child, is going public with her allegations that the good reverend has fallen behind on his child support payments to the tune of $11,694.50, according to the National Enquirer.

Australia To Finally Recognize Aborigines As First People

Australia is ready to make some historic changes to its 200-year-old constitution by requesting its citizens to approve a clause that recognizesAborigines as the country’s first occupants.

Ron Paul’s “South Was Right” Civil War Speech With Confederate Flag

Ron Paul has made no secret the fact that he thought that the South was right in the Civil War. Here he is giving a speech in front of a giant Confederate Flag about why he believes the North was wrong in the Civil War and why the South was right.


Vandals spraypainted “KKK” in black letters across a sign reading “Rosa Parks Highway” on Interstate 55 in South St. Louis County, Missouri, last night. NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis reports the same location “had a connection to the Ku Klux Klan.” The “same stretch of highway also used to be a clean-up zone for the KKK.” It was dedicated to Rosa Parks after her death in 2005. Watch their report:

Obama Administration Approves Rule That Guarantees Near-Universal Contraceptive Coverage

Today, in a huge victory for women’s health, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that most employers will be required to cover contraception in their health plans, along with other preventive services, with no cost-sharing such as co-pays or deductibles. This means that after years of trying to get birth control covered to the same extent that health plans cover Viagra, our country will finally have nearly universal coverage of contraception.

Meet The 40 Members Of The Congressional Koch Caucus

Five senators and 40 congressional representatives received a perfect 100 percent score from the Koch brothers’ astroturf group Americans For Prosperity for the first half of the 112th Congress. AFP judged Congress on their votes to protect the Koch brothers’ right-wing petrochemical empire on such issues as the repeal of President Obama’s new health care law, pre-empting EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget to end Medicare, ending ethanol subsidies, several Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval to overturn new regulations, and the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills.

Kentucky Gov. Cuts Education Funding While Preserving Tax Breaks For Biblically-Themed Amusement Park

When Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) proposed his 2012-2013 budget this week, he admitted that it was “inadequate for the needs” of the state’s people. “We should be making substantial investments in our physical and intellectual infrastructure to bring transformational change to our state,” Beshear said. “This budget does not allow us to do enough of that.”

Adler, 'Atlanta Jewish Times' Publisher, Apologizes For Obama Assassination Comments

Andrew Adler, the owner of local publication theAtlanta Jewish Times, has apologized after suggesting that assassinating President Barack Obama is an option that should be considered by the Israeli government.

Etta James Dead: Legendary Singer Passes Away At 73 Years Old

Etta James has died at the age of 73.

The legendary "At Last" singer died from complications from leukemia; she also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Survey: Republicans Trust Fox News And Nothing Else

A new PPP poll confirms what many have long suspected — that many Americans get their news from sources that hew to their pre-existing beliefs.

Homeless Rate Ready To Rise As Stimulus Cash Runs Out: Study

Although the recession has officially been over for two years, the worst may be to come for many people.

Job losses rose during the last few years. So did wages -- barely. Foreclosures went up, as did the number of poor people for whom rent eats up at least half the paycheck. And a federal program believed to have made a major difference in keeping homeowners off the streets is due to expire in a few months.

Workers' Right To Sue Employers Over Pay, Other Conditions In Flux

In 2010, Stephen Brown was living in York, Pa., and needed work. Most days Labor Ready, a temporary staffing company, had it. The company slogan highlighted one benefit of taking its often physically demanding assignments: "Work Today, Paid Today."

Michigan Democrats Unveil Plan To Finance Free College Tuition By Eliminating Corporate Tax Credits

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) spent his first year in office trading in the welfare of thousands ofvulnerable Michiganders in order to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Hoping to refocus priorities in 2012, the state’s Senate Democrats have released a new plan that puts Michigan students ahead of wealthy corporations.

Non-Citizen Troops Stay In The U.S. Military Longer Than Citizens, According To Attrition Data

Over the decade since the attacks on September 11, the U.S. armed forces havesigned more than 70,000 non-citizen recruits, and those recruits have stayed in longer than their citizen counterparts during a time when the military had trouble signing enough recruits and relaxed its standards to include more people.

How The GOP Candidates’ Tax Plans Would Give Huge Tax Breaks To South Carolina’s Richest 1 Percent

The GOP 2012 presidential candidates are headed to South Carolina for its Saturday primary largely in lockstep about economic policy. Across the board, the candidates have proposed tax plans that would give huge tax cuts to the already wealthy and blow a hole in the federal budget, while doing next to nothing for the middle class.


The Obama administration will announce it cannot approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline today, after Republicans inserted a rider into the payroll tax cut legislation that forced an executive-branch decision before the pipeline route is finalized. TransCanada, the foreign company that wants to build the 1700-mile pipeline to transport tar sands crude from Canada to Texas refineries, is rerouting the planned pipeline around Nebraska’s sensitive Sand Hills after local outcry. The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reports that the administration will allow TransCanada “to reapply with an alternate route through Nebraska.”

After Today’s SOPA Blackout, A Clean Slate

Many organizations, most notably among them Wikipedia, are going dark or gray for today to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act. When they come back, a lot more Americans will likely be aware of the now substantially altered legislation. And my hope, however unlikely, is that after this day of action, we can reset the conversation, especially now that DNS blocking and rerouting appear to be out of play.

Muslim College Student Reports Sexual Harassment, Gets Reported To FBI For Terrorism And Expelled

In 2008, African-American Muslim student Balayla Ahmad enrolled in Connecticut’s University of Bridgeport with hopes of becoming a chiropractor. Instead, she became of a victim of sexual harassment. Distressed by the repeated sexual advances and “graphic offensive comments” of a male student, Ahmad reported the harassment and “fears for her safety” to multiple teachers, who urged her to say nothing, and finally the university’s president and dean. The dean told Ahmad, “My hands are tied. What do you suggest I do?”


Samantha Garvey, a New York high school senior who has been living in a homeless shelther and recently named a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, will be Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-NY) guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday. Garvey found out she was a seminfinalist after her family had been living in a homeless shelterfor several days, and donations have poured in to help the family as news of Garvey’s story spread. Shewants to be a marine biologist and has applied to college at Brown and Yale. Israel told Newsday he was moved by Garvey’s story. “The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance,” Israel said.

Jerry Springer To Fox News: ‘You Guys, Every Single Day, Bash President Obama’

Newsweek made this week waves once again, this time for the lead story titled, “Why are Obama’s critics so dumb?” Today, onFox and Friends, host Gretchen Carlson asked her “fair and balanced” panel to discuss whether her outrage over the headline is justified. While most made the point that the headline is predominantly a sales-pitch, the “liberal” guest, TV talk show host Jerry Springer, opted to note the irony.

CHART: Who Is Lobbying For And Against The Protect IP Act

Today, many internet sites — from Wikipedia to Google — have chosen to go dark or change their display format, in protest of S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (or the PROTECT IP Act).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Republican Sponsor Of Bill To Require Drug Testing For Georgia Welfare Recipients Arrested For DUI

A Georgia Republican who wants all welfare reciepients subject to drug tests failed one himself after he ran a red light on Friday morning. The Atlanta Journal Constiution has the story on State Rep. Kip Smith (R):

Samsung's smart window brings "Minority Report" to life! (Here they are folks the people who I believe in the next 20 years will invent the worlds first AI system Samsung!)

After owning the Samsung Galaxy S2 for about six months and seeing all the stuff this phone could do over the Iphone in just about any of it's current versions, I started to think that these will be the people to create a form of AI that will one day change the world. If you saw "Minority Report" which was one of the most underrated movies ever, too me. However, if you were a tech head or self described nerd you got this movie and the futuristic touch screen tech that was all over the place in it. Maybe this is why Tom Cruise is so mega rich cause most of his movie make you look forward, meaning that it's good to have a film open good in it's weekend release but if you have people saying that was ahead of it's time 10 years later and those same people have to then go rent that movie to see that concept that is now in reality today. You're getting paid!

What’s Race Got to Do With It?

Mitt Romney may not have officially clinched the Republican nomination, but his victory has never really been in doubt. Nor has his viability in November: the most fanatical Tea Partiers are not about to withhold their votes and risk allowing President Obama to be re-elected.

Sunday January 15th 2012 Talking Heads


"Can anyone stop Mitt Romney?" asks Chris Wallace. So, today is going to be a day dedicated to finding out. Plus, a shoutfest over the private equity industry between someone from the Club for Growth and a guy who helped distribute that "King Of Bain" documentary. Later, maybe the id and the superego will try to murder one another.

Why Do Our Soldiers Desecrate The Dead? (CBS still pictures in Vid at bottom)

Since before Achilles dragged Hector’s body around the walls of Troy, warriors have been desecrating the corpses of their vanquished enemies, whether to send a message or exact revenge.

Memphis may finally name city street after King

In the more than four decades since the Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony of Memphis' Lorraine Motel, about 900 U.S. cities have named local streets for him. Memphis is not one of them, though there is a stretch of interstate bearing his name.

No sign of Nelson Mandela as South Africa's ANC turns 100

Tens of thousands of chanting and dancing revelers waved the green and gold colors of the African National Congress as Africa's oldest liberation movement celebrated its 100th anniversary Sunday, though many South Africans say the party hasn't delivered on its promises since taking power in 1994.

South Carolina Attorney General Perpetuates ‘Dead Voter’ Myth

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) turned heads this week when he initiated an investigation into whether 900 dead people voted in recent Palmetto State elections.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kansas GOP House Speaker ‘Prays’ That Obama’s ‘Children Be Fatherless And His Wife A Widow’

ThinkProgress reported last week that Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal (R) was forced to apologize to First Lady Michelle Obama after forwarding an email to fellow lawmakers that called her “Mrs. YoMama” and compared her to the Grinch.


Consumer group Young Invincibles has filed a legal brief defending the minimum coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that should the Supreme Court declare President Obama’s health reform law unconstitutional, over 17 million young Americans stand to lose their health care coverage. The law has already extended insurance to 2.5 million Americans as a result of a provision which allows adults to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. — Fatima Najiy


Super PACs supporting candidates are outspending those candidates’ campaign committees two-to-one in South Carolina, having already spent $7 million so far compared to a combined $3.2 million for presidential campaigns. The difference, of course, is that Super PACs can accept unlimited donations, and many are largely funded by a single billionaire. This reflects a trend across the early primary states, where Super PACs have been spending far more than the presidential campaigns or outside expenditure groups in previous years. Super PACs were created in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

GOP Rep. Berates Student Concerned About Pell Grant Cuts, Tells Her To Join The Military

To avoid a government shutdown at the end of 2011, Republicans succeeded in their campaign to cut the federal Pell Grant program by effectively kicking up to 100,000 low-income students off the rolls.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Conservative contributor Pat Buchanan’s tenure at MSNBC may have finally come to an end. APreports that MSNBC president Phil Griffin has indicated the controversial former presidential candidate will not be allowed back on the network after the release of his latest book. “Suicide of a Superpower” has been roundly condemned for its racially-charged content, including chapters titled “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” Griffin said, “When Pat was on his book tour, because of the content of the book, I didn’t think it should be part of the national dialogue much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.” As ThinkProgress has reported, Buchanan has a long history of bigotry and has made many offensive statements while in the network’s employ. 275,000 people signed a petition calling on MSNBC to fire him.

Arizona Officials Single Out Hispanic City Council Candidate To Take An English Literacy Test

Alejandrina Cabrera is one of several candidates running for City Council in San Luis, Arizona. Like nearly all of her constituents, Cabrera is Hispanic and speaks fluent Spanish. She also has been an annoyance for the city’s current leadership, having led efforts to recall Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla.

America Locked A Children’s Humanitarian Aid Worker In Gitmo For Seven Years

Lakhdar Boumediene, the named plaintiff in a seminal Supreme Court case preserving Guantanamo Bay detainees’ right to challenge the legality of their detention, recounts his experience as a man falsely accused of terrorism and imprisoned at Gitmo for seven years in an op-ed in the New York Times. The whole thing is worth reading, but one sentence in particular stands out:

Skyrocketing Tuition: College Costs Could Reach $422K For Children Born Today

Parents of children born today should be prepared to pay a hefty price for college tuition, if current trends in tuition costs don’t change. According to new analysis by The Daily, the class of 2034 will pay an average of $288,000 in 2011 dollars at a four-year private school and $123,000 at an average public school.

How Taxpayers Finance College Football’s Biggest Bowl Games

Bowl season, college football’s month-long end-of-season extravaganza, generates millions in revenue and often millions in profits for the organizations that run each bowl game. But because many of those bowls are classified as nonprofit charities, they often pay little, if any, taxes on those earnings.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

CVS Refuses To Sell Texas Man Emergency Contraception For His Wife, Suggests He’s A Rapist

A Texas man has enlisted the ACLU to help him sue CVS for gender discrimination after a pharmacist refused to sell him emergency contraception.

Religious Violence In Nigeria Continues

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — A radical Muslim sect attacked a church during a worship service in Nigeria’s northeast during assaults that killed at least 15 people, authorities said Saturday, as Christians vowed to defend themselves from the group’s widening sectarian fight against the country’s government.

Obama's Term And Creating Jobs, By the Numbers

2…the number of years of consecutive employment growth in manufacturing, after not one single year of growth between 1997 and 2010.

Symantec Hack Exposes Antivirus Source Code

(Reuters) - Symantec Corp, the top maker of security software, said hackers had exposed a chunk of its source code, which is essentially the blueprint for its products, potentially giving rivals some insight into the company's technology.

No Child Left Behind Anniversary: Education Law's Promise Falls Short After 10 Years

WASHINGTON — The No Child Left Behind education law was cast as a symbol of possibility, offering the promise of improved schools for the nation's poor and minority children and better prepared students in a competitive world.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Unemployment Rises For Blacks As It Falls For Everyone Else

WASHINGTON — A burst of hiring in December pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011.

Possibility of emergency manager in Detroit prompts civil rights concerns

As a Michigan panel considers whether a state-appointed emergency manager should take over Detroit’s debt-laden budget, some residents and leaders are arguing that the move would disenfranchise black voters.

Black Fraternities Form Obama Super PAC

Another factor making 2012 politically historic? It marks the first presidential election with super PACs. Given free rein by a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, super PACs are independent committees allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support, or skewer, a political candidate.

House Democrats Rush Floor Demanding Republicans Come Back To Work, GOP Cuts Off C-SPAN

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and a group of Democratic lawmakers took to an empty House floor today to demonstrate that they were willing to work while Republicans lawmakers are at home. “Where are the Republicans?” demanded Assistant to the Minority Leader James Clyburn (R-SC). Joining Pelosi and Clyburn were five other House Democrats who are assigned to the payroll-tax extension conference committee.

Quadriplegic Undocumented Immigrant Dies In Mexico After Being Deported From His Hospital Bed

In August 2010, Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, an undocumented construction worker in Chicago, fell 20 feet off a building while on the job and was paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to pay his own medical expenses, he was deported back to Mexico on December 22, 2010.

Teachers Decide To Work For Free After Budget Cuts Leave Pennsylvania School District Without Funds For Salaries

The Chester Upland School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania suffered a serious setback when Gov. Tom Corbett (R) slashed $900 million in education funds from the state budget. The cutslanded hardest on poorer districts, and Chester Upland, which predominantly serves African-American children and relies on state aid for nearly 70 percent of its funding, expects to fall short this school year by $19 million.


The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, known as Freddie Mac, announced Friday that it will provide mortgage servicers the power to grant unemployed homeowners who have Freddie Mac-backed mortgages a one-year break on their mortgage payments, the Chicago Tribune reports. The change takes effect February 1 and allows mortgage servicers to provide six months of relief without Freddie Mac approval and six months more with approval — a six-month increase over the current policy. Fannie Mae, the other mortgage provider, is expected to announce a similar policy later. Seriously delinquent mortgages rose sharply in September, and home foreclosures jumped 21 percent in the third quarter of 2011.

Record Heat Floods America With Temperatures 40 Degrees Above Normal

Fueled by billions of tons of greenhouse pollution, a surge of record warmth has flooded the United States, shattering records from southern California to North Dakota. “Temperatures have reached up to40 degrees above early January averages in North Dakota,” the Weather Channel reports. Cities are seeing late-April temperatures at the start of January — Minot, ND hit 61 degrees, Aberdeen, SD hit63 degrees, and Williston, ND hit 58 degrees, all-time record highs for the month of January.

Report: 24 States Enacted 92 Abortion Restrictions In 2011

Lawmakers across the nation pursued a record number of reproductive health and rights-related provisions in 2011, a new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds, enacting 135 measures in 36 states — “an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009.” Sixty-eight percent of the provisions — 92 in 24 states — restricted access to abortion services:

Kansas GOP Lawmaker Apologizes For Email Calling Michelle Obama ‘Mrs. Yo Mama’

Picture in email titled "Twins separated at birth?"

Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal (R) is scrambling to save face after forwarding an email to fellow lawmakers that called Michelle Obama “Mrs. YoMama” and compared her to the Grinch.

NFL Players Call On Indiana Republicans To Drop Their Anti-Labor Bill Before Indianapolis Super Bowl

For the last two days, Democrats in the Indiana legislature have prevented the consideration of a “right to work” bill, which would make Indiana the first state in the U.S. industrial belt to allow non-union workers to free-ride on union contracts, which obviously undermines the ability of the union to do its job. Today, the National Football League Players Association called on the Indiana GOP to drop its bill in advance of the 2012 Super Bowl, which is being played in Indianapolis, saying that the NFL’s biggest game “should be about celebrating the best of what Indianapolis has to offer, not about legislation that hurts the people of Indiana“:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The 1 Percent Solution: Koch Brothers Bankroll Right-Wing ThinkProgress Clone

The Koch Brothers are worth $50 billion. They’ve bankrolled the Tea Party, thecampaign against climate change science, and entire university departments to advance their right-wing agenda. The newest item on their shopping list: their own Center for American Progress.

Now That We Have A CFPB Director, It’s Time To Ban Corporate-Owned Courts In The Financial Industry

One of the most important, if overlooked, provisions in the law creating the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a provision allowing the agency to push back against one of the most egregious errors committed by the Supreme Court in recent years — a line of decisions allowing companies to force their consumers into aprivatized, corporate-owned arbitration system that overwhelming favors corporate parties. Now that CFPB Director Richard Cordray is in place, his agency can ban this practice altogether from much of the consumer finance industry:

Corporate Profits Have Rebounded To Pre-Recession Levels, But Corporate Tax Revenue Hasn’t

Over the last few decades, U.S. corporate tax revenue plunged to historic lows, falling from about 6 percent of GDPin the 1950s to barely more than 1 percent of GDP today. Obviously, part of the recent low level has to do with the Great Recession and its effect on businesses and their profits. But while corporate profits have rebounded to their pre-recession heights, setting a record in the third quarter of 2011, corporate tax revenue has yet to follow suit:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rick Santorum’s Top 10 Most Outrageous Campaign Statements

Rick Santorum’s surprising second-place finish in Iowa comes after months of dogged campaigning throughout the sate’s 99 counties and more than 350 town halls. ThinkProgress tracked the former Pennsylvania senator throughout this period and has compiled a list of his top 10 most outrageous claims:


Despite the inevitable conservative complaints that President Obama is engaged in some kind of massive overreach by recess appointing Richard Cordray as the nation’s chief consumer financial protection watchdog, the truth is that Obama has used his recess appointment power very sparingly. After today’s appointment, President Obama will have made a total of 29 recess appointments. By comparison, George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments; Bill Clinton made 139 recess appointments; George H.W. Bush made 77 recess appointments; and Ronald Reagan made 243. When you divide these numbers by the number of years each man spent in the White House, it reveals that Obama is far and away the least likely president to invoke this power:

New Obama Administration Rules Require Airlines To Disclose Full Ticket Prices Upfront

Starting in late January, the Obama administration will force airlines to be more transparent about the full cost of tickets they often disguise in ads touting cheap fares. Low-price airlines Southwest, Spirit, and Allegiant are going to court to stop the rules, arguing that they violate corporate free speech rights.

BREAKING: Obama To Make Recess Appointments To National Labor Relations Board

President Obama is planning to announce today that, in addition to his recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he will also use his recess appointment powers to place Department of Labor Attorney Sharon Block, labor lawyer Richard Griffin, and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn to the National Labor Relations Board.

New Hampshire GOP Bill Mandates That New Laws Find Their Origin In 1215 English Magna Carta

New Hampshire Republicans are taking textual originalism to a whole new level: three lawmakers have proposed a bill that requires that all legislation find its origin not in the U.S. constitution, but an English document crafted in 1215.

Michigan’s Undemocratic Emergency Managers Paid Six Figures At Local Taxpayers’ Expense

Last year, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed into law a drastic expansion of the state’s emergency manager law, which imposes what critics have dubbed “financial martial law” on local governments the state deems to be mismanaging finances. The emergency managers, who are appointed without input from local communities, have the power to effectively depose elected officials, break collective bargaining agreements, and unilaterally dictate decisions about city operations, finances, infrastructure, and public safety.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Santorum’s Racist Welfare Rant: ‘I Don’t Want To Make Black People’s Lives Better’ With Taxpayer Money

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has been trying to pull off an upset in the Iowa caucus, but he’s drawing criticism ahead of tonight’s contest forracially charged remarks he recently made about welfare recipients:

President Obama Still Has All The Legal Authority He Needs To Make A Recess Appointment Right Now

Earlier today, a reliable source told ThinkProgress that President Obama willmake at least one recess appointment soon. If this report proves accurate, Senate Republicans will inevitably complain that this action violates the Constitution — as they do pretty much every time President Obama does anything. They will be wrong.

How Much Do Iowa And New Hampshire Benefit From The Federal Government?

The Iowa caucus officially takes place tonight, followed by the New Hampshire primary next week, the first two steps in the GOP’s selection of a presidential candidate. While the Republican candidates have been trying to outdo each other on the amount of government that they would cut — with several of them advocating the elimination of entire cabinet agencies — it’s worth noting how much government aid the citizens of those states receive, in everything from federal infrastructure money to Pell Grants. The National Priorities Project laid it out:

Monday, January 2, 2012

As Big Bank Stocks Plunge, CEOs Continue To Reap Huge Salaries

Wall Street Pit’s Ron Haruni points out that as the banking industry’s stocks plunged this year — with major megabanks like Bank of America facing uncertain fates — their executives have walked away with sky-high salaries.

AI will change our relationship with tech

In 1984, American movie director James Cameron imagined a world in which computers achieved self-awareness and set about systematically destroying humankind.

Skynet, the Terminator series computer network, was to go live in 2011 and bring the world to an end.

Of course, we have just survived 2011 without such a cataclysmic event. And the closest we got to computers achieving self-awareness was Apple's Siri.

2011: New low for US-Pakistan relations

2011 was a disastrous year for US-Pakistan relations. The BBC looks back with a guide to the year's major flashpoints.

Seven Economic Policy Goals For Progressives In 2012

At best, 2011 can be described as a middling year for progressives when it comes to the economy. Though the economy continued its modest recovery, and despite recent positive signs of improvement, many progressive goals went unfulfilled.

REPORT: The Republican Candidates’ Economic Agenda For The 1 Percent

This Tuesday, Iowans will officially kick off the process to nominate the Republican candidate for president. A close examination of all of the GOP candidates’ records and policy positions reveals that Mitt Romney is not the only candidate who “represents the one percent.” All of the Republican candidates share at least one thing in common: an economic agenda that will benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans at the expense of the other 99 percent.


On New Year’s Eve, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck northeastern Ohio, the second quake to strike the region in a week. Saturday’s earthquake, which occurred in an area not typically known for this type of natural disaster, is being traced back to fluid injection wells at a Youngstown fracking site. According to theAkron Beacon Journal, “the quake was the 11th over the last eight months in Mahoning County, all within two miles of the injection wells.” They also point out that injection wells have been linked to earthquakes in other states as well, including Arkansas, West Virginia, Colorado and Texas. Two of the Ohio injection wells in question are now being shut down.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

College Students On The Presidential Race

What do college students want out of the presidential elections? Are they really as apathetic as everyone claims? What issues do they care about? Shown in infographic.

2012 Medicare Debate: Baby Boomers At Center Of Issue

WASHINGTON — Baby boomers take note: Medicare as your parents have known it is headed for big changes no matter who wins the White House in 2012. You may not like it, but you might have to accept it.

Sunday 1, 2012 Talking Heads!


Oh, okay. It's This Week With Jake Tapper, which I like the sound of, personally, but ABC apparently does not on anything more than a temporary basis. (Jake is wearing his Gryffindor House necktie today, as well.)


Amid slowdowns in emerging markets, a debt crisis in Europe, a slow recovery here in the United States, and various other turbulent events, the Financial Times reports that global stock markets lost $6.3 trillion in value this year — a 12 percent slide. After some wild swings reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, U.S. markets were mixed with the Dow ending the year up 5.53 percent. Remarkably, the S&P 500 ended the year at 1257.60, just .04 points changed from its 2010 close of 1257.64.

BREAKING: Obama Signs Defense Authorization Bill

This afternoon, Obama signed the controversial Defense authorization bill, despite his reservations about provisions related to the treatment of terrorism suspects. The National Journal reports:

ThinkProgress’ Top 10 Video Moments Of 2011

2011 was a big year for ThinkProgress’ video output. Between catching the Republican presidential candidates flying off into various forms of extremism, filming Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) being booed at his own town hall, exposing a sitting Senator imploring the Koch brothers for campaign funds, unearthing a clip of Ronald Reagan making the same tax policy arguments as Obama, and skewering Mitt Romney for editing Obama out of context, ThinkProgress was able to drive both the news cycle and the course of national debate with the unique video content we found. So here, in honor of the year’s end and measured in both traffic and political impact, are ThinkProgress’ ten biggest video moments from 2011: